RSJ's 30th anniversary: 1980-2010

2010 was a very special year for us as the RSJ Restaurant celebrated its 30th year. We held a number of special events through the year to mark our 30th birthday.

36th Year: 1980-2016

Another milestone with events happening during our 36th anniversary year.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Christophe Daviau tasting and dinner: 9th March 2010

 Christophe and Lindsay Oram assessing the reds

Last night Christophe Daviau of Domaine de Bablut in Brissac-Quince opened the RSJ Restaurant's 30th anniversary celebrations with a tasting dinner attended by around 40 people.

The apertif was the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, a Vin de Pays Val du Loire. Not yet bottled it was the first opportunity to most present to taste a 2009 from the Loire. It is softly fruited with some of the richness that will become associated with the 2009 vintage. Due to be bottled at the end of this month. 

Then three Anjou whites from Chenin Blanc:

                2008 Petit Princé, Anjou Blanc
                2005 Ordovicien, Anjou Blanc
                1989 Anjou Blanc (from the same vineyards as Ordovicien)

Petit Princé comes from the Haute-Perche where it is flatter and there is more clay. It is vinified in stainless steel. The 2008 has the wonderful, fresh fruit precision that is typical of this vintage. Ordovicien comes from vines planted on a slope on sandstone and slate. This is vinified in barrique and is a richer style of wine – in part because it is 2005 (a rich vintage) but also because the wines from this vineyarid is richer due to its soil and geology. Christophe says that the acidity level in both wine is roughly the same with the 2008 slightly higher. However, when tasting the two side by side, you certainly have the impression that the 2008 has considerably more acidity. It is the 2005 richness  that masks it.

The golden coloured 1989 was very interesting as initially it had quite a maderised nose but with time in the glass this dissipated leaving a full bodied, powerful and complex wine.     

These wines were served with the first course:

Poached organic salmon and leek tartlet, cuncumber and rocket salad, salmon caviar beurre blanc

The 2008 Petit Princé was clearly the preferred wine without food, while the 2005 Ordovicien became the most popular by a small margin from the Petit Princé with the salmon tartlet.

The reds: 

               2007 Petra Alba, Anjou Villages Brissac
               100% Cabernet Franc from vines on clay and limestone
               2005 Petra Alba, Anjou Villages Brissac
               2005 Rocca Nigra, Anjou Villages Brissac

               100% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines on schist

Christophe explained thr logic behind planting the Cabernet Franc on limestone and the Cabernet Sauvignon on imprevious rocks – schist, slate and sandstone. Franc needs regular water, which the sponge like nature of the limestone, can provide. It suffers in very dry years like 2005 when  the region had been dry through 2003 and 2004. In contrast Cabernet Sauvignon likes dry conditions and reacts badly to wet soils, so is well suited to the imprevious rocky soils that do not retain water. The CS was much more at the ease in the drought conditions of 2005 than the Franc.

Served with:

Roast saddle of English lamb, carrots, broccoli, roast new potatoes, lamb jus

With the delicious lamb I thought the 2005 Petra Alba was probably the best match as the 2005 Rocca Nigra was impressive but tended to dominate. 

The sweets:
Christophe is an acknowledged expert on sweet wines and the stages that Chenin Balnc goes through as botrytis takes a hold. These two wines from 2005 are fine examples of Christophe's skill.

                2005 Aubance Selection Coteaux de l'Aubance 
                2005 Grandpierre Coteaux de l'Aubance

The Selection is the entry level cuvée picked with a lower level of botrytis and so less sweet. This style is more versatile than some of the very rich styles from the L'Aubance or the Layon. It works well as an aperitif or a range of dishes such as rich chicken and pork recipes, patés and blue cheese. Grandpierre is very often my favourite sweet wine from Christophe – he also makes a Vin Noble in very good vintages. Grandpierre has a lovely balance of richness and minerality.

Served with:

               Beenleigh Blue

               Caramelised apple and hazelnut pudding

Friday, March 5, 2010

March: new menus – à la carte, fixed and party

A la carte

Selection of Spanish meats, Manchego cheese, olives    7.95 /11.95

Scallop, mussel and baby squid linguine, garlic butter cherry tomatoes   9.95 /17.95
Deep fried brie, french beans, walnut & rocket, cumberland sauce 6.95 /10.95
Warm salad of marinated Denham Estate rabbit, endive, onion marmalade, anchovies 7.95 /14.95
Baked lemon sole and tiger prawn in filo pastry, ginger & salmon caviar beurre blanc, spring onions 8.95 /17.95
Roast monkfish, cherry tomatoes, sugar snaps, crushed new potatoes, Parmesan dressing 18.95
Dish of the day          P.O.A

Roast English free range duck breast, potato rosti, spinach, apple compote, red wine jus 17.95

Seared Dutch calves liver, french beans, crispy bacon, mash potatoes, onion gravy 15.95

Grilled British rib-eye, cafe de Paris butter, baked Portobello mushroom, oven dried tomato, fat chips  18.95

Homemade gnocchi, sautéed wild mushrooms, Parmesan velouté  10.95

Side Orders £2.95
           French beans
           Mange tout
           New season potatoes
           Mash potatoes
           House mixed salad / green salad

Desserts all £5.75

  Steamed sticky date pudding, toffee sauce, walnut ice cream

  Chocolate & ginger cheesecake, spiced pineapple

  Plum & almond crumble, clotted cream

  Vanilla crème caramel, brandied prunes

  Pear and pistachio tart, honey ice cream

  Iced hazelnut praline parfait, raspberry sauce

  Homemade ices and sorbets
  Selection of cheeses served with quince paste and pressed fig and almond cake £6.75                                                                                                                                                           

Fixed Price Menu
2 courses £16.95
3 courses £18.95

Soup of the day

Smoked haddock and cheddar quiche,
Granny Smith & raisin remoulade

Caramelised chicken & ginger, spring onions,
bean sprout & coriander, sesame, soy & chilli dressing

        *     *     *     *    *    * 

Roast Cod, parmagiana, french beans, new potatoes, basil pesto

Confit duck leg, roast beetroot, mange tout, horseradish mash, cranberry jus

Pan fried pork escalope, sautéed new potatoes, broccoli, peppers, mustard velouté

*    *    *     *    *    *    *

Choice of desserts from the à la carte menu

 Filter                            £2.00
 Cappuccino / decaff     £2.20
 Espresso / decaff          £2.00
 Double espresso           £2.95


For the new party menus, please click here .

Christophe Daviau: Domaine de Bablut: Tuesday 9th March

Some of the Daviau vineyards (foreground) in the Coteaux de l'Aubance 

There are still a few places for the tasting dinner on Tuesday evening with Christophe Daviau. Christophe is one of the leading growers in Anjou and his vineyards are now run biodynamically. 

We will be tasting a range of Christophe's wines including a rare 1989 white Anjou plus starting with his 2009 Sauvignon Blanc – an early opportunity to look at a 2009. Full details here.

To reserve your place, please contact Tom King on 020-7928 4554 or

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Xynthia: some good news

The terrible storm, Xynthia, that hit western France early on Sunday morning killed over 50 people. 27 of them died in La Faute-sur-Mer, a small town on a spit of land between the Atlantic and the River Lay about 20 kilometres up the coast from La Rochelle.

Fortunately the Loire vineyards, even those in the Vendée, escaped serious damage.


We have now added a Loire vintages page.